Monday, February 27, 2006

reppin' BK to the fullest

no... listen to The 'Sip

Hey you… the one about to make a mixtape order… hold on for a second and add ‘Big K.R.I.T. - See Me On Top II (Hosted by DJ Folk)’ to the shopping list. I ordered it rather randomly and, naively, let it sit at the bottom of the pile before I took some time out a few weeks ago to give it a listen…

Neo-cliches like “The Future” and “The Truth” have been bandied about this Meridian, Mississippi-based and Atlanta-connected MC. Or as KRIT rhymes...
On the West he fire
On the North he spit
He the truth in the A
In the ‘Sip he the shit

KRIT’s acronym, ‘King Remembered In Time’, shows that he gladly accepts ‘potential’ as his strongest asset. But that doesn’t diminish the superiority of these mixtape tracks right now.

Alright, I’ll admit that you will hear a solid imitation of a Ludacris flow on ‘The South,’ and then a Pimp C drawl on ‘Just Touched Down’ and a channeling of Jeezy-like ad-libs on the ‘Why Not’ snippet. And yes, his production style liberally borrows from the slowed-down Texas sound with the haunting ‘Pull The Drop Out.’ But check out how handily Krizzle conjures up the dreamy tones on the ‘Jump In’ remix providing a perfect ‘player rap’ track. And hear how skillfully he uses the soulful vocal sample of ‘Just Touched Down.’ Or listen to the creative chopping of the dramatic swirls and familiar vocal bits on ‘Hey Love.’ These styles convey a pop-savvy that can make a mixtape stand out. On ‘Swagger Back’ he boasts over the ‘PSA’ beat that his rhyming AND production skills are simply “a couple years late / just missed Kanye!” He may even have the ego of Mr. West to throw into his arsenal.

The fact that he can rock ALL of these styles WELL is an indication of how far he can take the mic and mixing boards and it’s what sets him apart from so many mixtape up-and-comers. Apparantly he’s got ‘the street’ abuzz ‘round The A and The Sip but a pop strategy is clearly at work in the KRIT patchwork and is what gives him an edge… not the ‘cutting’ variety but still over most competition.

It’s not clear how much D. Jones helps out KRIT on the production side but when KRIT likens Kritikal Productions to an ’06 ‘Hov and Dame’ we’ll assume he has a desire for that fire that the Roc-duo had together.

Because of KRIT’s street heat, SOHH Atlanta had no problem featuring an MC from The ‘Sip. And the March issue of Ozone features KRIT in the ‘Patiently Waiting’ section which reveals a bit more complexity of character than fans have become used to with fluff MC profiles. When was the last time a hungry MC in our crack-rap era said his ‘outside talents’ included a “passion for architecture”?

Behold the solid foundation for the house of KRIT.

All songs by Big KRIT:
Why Not (Snippet) (Kritikal Productions)
The South
Just Touched Down (Kritikal Productions)
Swagger Back
Pull The Drop Out (Kritikal Productions)
Jump In Remix (Kritikal Productions)
Hey Love featuring Juice of The Replacementz (Kritikal Productions)

... and more at the Big KRIT MySpace page.

Friday, February 17, 2006

like snow when the cold wind blow

more than a thousand times one
snatch up my styles get done

Even though I call people ‘dude’ I know not much about snowboarding other than it kicked my ass when I tried to do it and that snowboardcross kicks ass as a sport to watch. I saw it for the first time on the Olympic broadcast last night and even in its “watered-down-X-games” form it was most excellent. It doesn’t have the chilled-out mellow emphasis on style that the half-pipe events have but it’s not just a cold ‘speed’ event. Some of the short-track strategy is there in that dudes draft each other and then try to overtake the leader at turns (no Ohno). Crashes occur often so someone trailing in fourth place can actually zoom past the wreckage to place or even win. It debuted as an Olympic event this year and promoters of the sort couldn’t have asked for a better photo finish.

But what sealed the deal was a quick glance at the graphics describing the course…
Check out the shaded box on the left of this NYTimes graphic called “Glossary of Jumps.”

a wu-banger

And from an ‘official snowboard manual’
Boardercross items for TD/TS evaluation:…
Passing zones…you need some
No gap jumps
Separation zones for speed
In the beginning… separate riders…I like the Wu-tang feature...

Can I get a ‘suuuuu…’?

thought my Jesus piece was so harmless...

oh lord...

David Goldberg sent me this one.

Some highlights… what is really interesting is that most hip-hoppers might agree to some of these particular sentences…

Yes, we do have very powerful Christian rap groups that preach the word of God through rap, but we must not get confused and call what they are doing Hip Hop.

… until a realization that the writer is trying to separate ‘Christian rap’ from it’s hip-hop origins

You have to understand that God does not embrace anything that has a corrupt origin.

Hip-hop is not rap! Rapping is style of conveying a message, like singing, humming, whistling, etc. Hip-hop is a culture, or way of living and governing your life. There is also a style of music that is a part of the hip-hop culture, but it’s not just represented by rap.

The founders and original pioneers of this culture teach that it is a religion. They teach that it is a tool to point people to their god. Not the God of the Holy Bible. KRS-ONE teaches that the bible is irrelevant to the knowledge of his god. Hip-hop is a very effective tool for the degradation of our nations youth. KRS-ONE and the Temple of Hip Hop teaches that this culture was designed to give knowledge to self, or to show the Black man himself as god!

And of course the classic…
In hip hop…Being a thug is cool. Looking like you just robbed a bank is the norm.

Monday, February 13, 2006

when in rome...

shots to the dome?

When I lived in Rome I used to bug out that the pimply faced young caribinieri (Rome’s ‘special’ security) carried machine guns… Here in The Big Orange we’ve become somewhat accustomed to seeing folk kicking it outside of our public byways but seeing some scrawny Italian youngster looking bored with a machine gun always made me nervous. ‘Regular’ Roman police would hop on the buses to check tickets. That was the closest I came to a brush with ‘Romes finest’ in the old town. In other words, I rarely bought a ticket. I’d take the bus with my peoples out to this little bar that would spin hip-hop. The resident DJ would yell ‘Brooklyn!’ when we walked in the door since he knew that’s where we had traveled from. He would always throw on The Beasties ‘No Sleep ‘Til…’ and we appreciated it.

When I saw the name “Rome’s Finest” on my DJ Folk mixtape I didn’t even know there was a ‘Rome’ in Georgia. So I can honestly say, these kids, at least for me, put Rome on the US map.

When I first hear a ‘new’ MC I inevitably compare the voice to another well-known rapper. Comparisons of Shyne’s voice to Biggie now seem silly. And, more recently, I couldn’t help but compare the ad-libs and calm flow of Jody Breeze to T.I. But now I realize Jody is influencing a whole new crop of MCs. The Rome’s Finest group is not quite as assured but I can hear the particular pronunciation that I associate with Young Breezy. I can also hear the professionalism in their verses and in their interaction with the beats. It’s not quite consistent but it’s enough to make me take notice. Their association with Big KRIT can only be a plus since he is a few steps ahead with cadence, hooks and tone (more on KRIT soon).

From the handful of tracks here I think it’s safe to say that they’ve already earned a spot in Rome’s pantheon of MCs but I’m looking forward to them taking a shot at the rest of Georgia’s upper echelon.

Note: I swear, the coincidence of one of ‘Rome’s’ MC names was revealed to me after I heard them rap!

All joints by Rome’s Finest (featured MCs listed):
Rio & Terry - Okay
Dirty, Rio & Terry – Bravehearts (prod. K.R.I.T.)
Terry, Cross & Dirty– Not A Game
Rio – Freestyle
Terry, Dirty & Rio – So High

(You can listen to these tracks and more at their isound page)

Friday, February 10, 2006

looking for the perfect beat?

stick to the script

1 club-friendly classic beat
+ 2 club-friendly MCs (with MIA respect)
+ 2 of last years on-fire MCs
+ 1 of this years heaviest street buzz MCs
= 1 mixtape sure-shot
= sum of its parts
< a classic...

... but still enjoyable.

DJ Khaled, Lil Wayne, Paul Wall, Fat Joe, Rick Ross, Pitbull - Holla At Me Baby

Thursday, February 09, 2006

my grammy highlight

it's about that time

To paraphrase Matt Dillon speaking to Ryan Seacrest on the pre-Grammy red carpet walk:
‘Schooly D… from Philly… I’ve always liked his stuff…’

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

keys of ‘rock’

can y'all get funky?

When I was in my 8th grade school band I was assigned to compose a short song. I instead jacked a few bars from “Planet Rock” I think I got a B+. Not because my rendition was any good (which it was not) but because most kids refused to play their own compositions in front of everybody. A friend in the band laughed at my ‘tune’ and told me “That sounded like an ‘exercise’” using the term for those mechanical rituals, like musical scales, that a musician does to warm up. I realize now that I was fascinated more with the rhythm than with ‘the tune.’

Houston son and Harlem-world resident, Jason Moran, on the other hand, heard it all… and has the skills to let us hear it all too.

His cover of “Planet Rock,” from his 2002 album ‘Modernistic’ has received plenty of analysis and, I would assume, double-takes. It apparently, became a recurring musical theme in performances, which have been augmented by recorded sounds including “Planet Rock” itself. But more importantly it is augmented by the fact that he knows hip-hop rather than 'learned about it' in an 'academic' sense. His love of this "classic" has led Moran to put versions on other albums.

The fact that Wayne & Wax slid Moran’s version into the “Crunk Genealogy” mix a couple weeks ago (linking Bambaataa’s original to Aphex Twin’s "4") simultaneously with my step-dad mailing ‘Modernistic’ to me, is nearly too much synchronicity for me to handle.

Everybody say, rock it, don't stop it…

Jason Moran – Planet Rock
Jason Moran – Planet Rock Postscript

Friday, February 03, 2006

'Fest up... dressed up

is that him? could I be right? could that be Kid Dynomite?!?

I guess since most of us aren’t rocking pastel collars Rhymefest’s album title ‘Blue Collar’ is an appeal to the ‘real’ common man… wait for it… A ‘Fest of us and for the rest of us.

I’m not trying to dampen the burn from the Blaze blessed ‘Dynomite’ but isn’t ‘Go Out Clothes’ the song that has a better chance at radio spins? Doesn’t it have the interesting vocal twists that folk love to sang along with (“…poke OOUUUUT!” “…Hungry-hungry-hipOHHHS”)? Isn’t the video appeal obvious? Won’t the handclap-driven beat work well in the ‘snap-friendly’ clubs? Don’t the stuttery chopped-up keyboards from NO ID appeal to heads, nerds and hipsters. And, maybe it’s a Chi-thang but it is a catchphrase.

Sorry all I’ve got is the clean… er, ‘go out’ version.

Rhymefest – Go Out Clothes (produced by NO ID) (clean version)

RE-UP: Rhymefest – Go Out Clothes (produced by NO ID) (clean version)